mtndewdewd's blog
Posted by mtndewdewd | 11-04-2013 @ 02:07 PM | 8,002 Views
Wow. What a year. I am sure it goes the same for any year-long commitment.... but I can't say it went exactly how I expected. However, I can for a fact say - it was a learning experience and a lot of fun!

While practicing for my last event of the year (Florence) I sheared my prop bolts and almost threw a blade or 2 of the prop. I dead-sticked after a hammerhead, landed and found this

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Needless to say, I am glad the extra load on the engine caused the dead-stick when it dd. If I would have been in a different stage of the sequence with lots of full throttle flight, I may have lost the blades, and possibly the tail, wing, or whater that prop might have hit. Anyway, after a night with emack the bolts were out, new prop drilled and all back together and ready for the contest... I hoped =\

Show up at Florence, and get the prop and spinner on and torqued at 95 in-lbs. Just before the pilots meeting I fired her up to make sure the engine was still ok and was not damaged with the prop issue the weekend before. All sounded good and we were ready to go.

Pops was all studied up on the new Intermediate sequence and ready to go. I had flown it on the sim 20 times or so and for real about 5. I had no aspirations of anything other than last place, I was there to get a feel for the new class and A LOT of flying upside down

1st flight was ok, except for my "rough" elements. For some reason, the 2 lowest K elements are my worst. The down loop with 1/2 roll at the bottom and the 90 degree roller. I flew a little sloppy, but not bad overall. On the down loop I tanked the roll and zero'd it and the roller was ok, but not great. However, no crash and that was my goal!! 2nd sequence was about the same, but a little better on the down loop. 3rd and 4th were much cleaner, as I was starting to settle down and get more comfortable.

Day 1 over, and I was in 4th for a little, and ended in 5th, just a few points back. Overall I was very happy!

Day 2, unknown. The unknown seemed to flow well (thanks committee) and it had no roller in it!! I flew it very well I thought. Pretty clean, no zeros, etc. When I got my card I did see a zero, but it was from a notorious "no auto-rotation" zero happy judge. It was a negative snap at the top of a loop. It "wiggled" when the snap stopped so I know it was good. Also, with my mix, if it doesn't snap, you will know it. I have to be burried in order for the "boosts" to activate. When I don't get "buried" it is a SLLLOOOWWW Barrel roll. This snapped nice so I am happy with it. Best flight of the contest!!

Flew wellthe last round of knows about like the 2nd and was very happy. Overall, I was happy with how I did and didn't feel like "I didn't belong" and will go into 2014 with expectations to do well!

My hopes of qualifying for Worlds fell short. Although I didn't get to put in the practice I knew I would need, I still did well and if the qualifier would have used a points based criteria like the shootout does, I most likely would have made it to Fresno. However, I would have never made the team. Just too many really really good sportsman pilots this year in the SW.

My goal for TAS would have been realized, I had enough points (I believe - I know they planned to change who got in and who didn't)...but the cancellation of the event took care of it With Worlds next year, there will be no TAS or Clover Creek and I will have to wait for 2015... but I will be ready! Hopefully in Advanced, but time will tell.

Looking back at the year as a whole, what I see, and what I hope future "IMAC newbies" will see is the change in my attitude and my expectations of what IMAC "is". In the beginning it was all about judging, and complaining and dealing with the boredom of spending 2 days to only get 25 minutes of engine run time. In the end, it was all about the comaraderie, the BS'ing, the helping others, and just being around what I love, planes, for 2 days. I got lots of quality time with the old man and in the end, thats what it's all about.

I hope those that followed this enjoyed it. It didn't go as planned, or have as many entries as I expected, but I think it helped me and I hope it can help someone in the future.... who is wondering.... "just what is this IMAC and what can I expect?"

Till next time...
Posted by mtndewdewd | 09-04-2013 @ 06:35 PM | 6,375 Views
Oh, where to start? It's been a long time....

After Prado, it was evident that my hope of making the Worlds invitation was not going to happen. Based on my current standing, my performance at Prado, and discussions with those above me - I would not be in the top 4 in the SW.

With that decided, I started to post and sell off the old Carden and started to equip the new one in hopes of qualifying for and making the Tucson Shootout. Quickly down that road it was announced that the TAS was going to be cancelled. Based on that, both of my goals for the year were not met

However, Over the year I really learned a lot about IMAC and what it is and what it is not. I really learned to enjoy the atmosphere of the events. Where I hated all the down time, by the end of the season I looked forward to the downtime and wathing/rooting for others, telling stories, helping, judging, etc. It got to where it was almost a "bummer" when I was up to fly As I changed, so did my thoughts on what was success. Success was hanging out with the old man (My Caller - Pops), getting the plane going, up and down without incident and the "suspense" of how I would do. The anticipation became the excitement, not while in the air.

This past sunday I maidened my new plane. It's a 126" Carden, but newer, less flights and much lighter. It flies somewhat the same, but oh so different. Its stable, and precise, but this one is much easier to control the speed. I fly this one much slower and rarely go above 1/2 throttle unless in a vertical upline. 2 clicks of additional throttle above 1/2 makes 45 uplnes the exact same speed as the horizontal. It flies much more scale and gives me much more time to think about how I need to screw up the next element

Hope to get it trimmed out this weekend with the assistance of Mr. BADAMS and BACO - and then I will have a few weekends to practice the sequence before the last contest of the year for me - Florence.

Oh, and the last contest I will be flying in Intermediate. Since the worlds and TAS are out, there is no reason I have to wait until next year to move up. The challenge of the new elements/maneuvers in Sportsman made me a much better pilot much quicker. I am hoping the same will happen with the Intermediate flights.

I will post more as I practice more and then a final post after the Florence contest.
Posted by mtndewdewd | 05-29-2013 @ 02:19 PM | 10,467 Views
What a great contest. It was 1st class all the way. From the heavy card-stock, color-coded score sheets to the "keep-quiet" judging signs, to the flow and pace. Will be back for sure! On top of that, perfect weather. 70-75, sunny, and not real windy.

Maybe it was the above the got me? Could I be too relaxed in this atmosphere and the desire to concentrate and do well faded away? Whatever it was, it is what it is. I flew "ok" in my precision and I completly tanked my unknown. Was in 4th place after day 1, only a hundred points or so back. I flew ok, but not great. Considering I had only practiced the sequences 5 times since the last contest (2 months ago) I felt good about where I stood.

The 1st day went a little long. We had some issues with planes in the morning so we didn't get in the air until 8:30 or so. As usual, everyone stepped up and helped and everyone flew. Mr. Neves had been through the wringer with repairs and was wore out before the 1st pilots wheels ever left the ground. He continued to keep up the "hardest working man in IMAC" title as he called, fixed planes, etc all weekend. I am sure he slept well Sunday night! Amazing he still managed to finish 3rd with all that was going on!

Since it went late, Freestyles had just started and the Unknowns were not handed out yet. There was a catered spaghetti dinner planned for that evening at 7:30. My caller needed to return to the hotel for some "meds" and since it was right next door... we headed into Buffalo Wild Wings for a pre-dinner snack (and a drink or 2 for pops).

After a little snack and some UFC watching at the bar we were headed back to the field. Forgot to fire up the GPS so after a short trip to see Stalone's house in L.A. we finally got turned around and make it back to the field =\

Spaghetti dinner was amazing. JB brought the baby for some photo op's. Unknown didn't look too bad. Sun was heading down to start some foamie night flying. I spent the previous week working to get a new foamie together and painted for the evening fun. Although, as the sun went down the wind went up. I can barely fly a 42% much less a 40" foamie in the wind. I figured I did a lot of work to get it ready, I would at least give it a try....

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Surprisingly it went well. It was really windy, but the foamie flew well. Pretty much just held it into the wind and watched it fly backwards and a roll here and there. Too windy to do anything else based on my skills. The new 18MZ flew that thing GREAT Can't wait to get the big planes running on it.

Showed up on Sunday morning, unknown memorized and ready to go. Pull a next to last spot in the flying. Watch Santiago go up as he had the 1st spot. On Maneuver 7 I see what I think is Santi fly the sharkstooth the wrong way... after realizing that is highly unlikely I looked at the unknown again, and I was flying in backwards =\ Whew. That would have cost me a Zero and really ruined it for me. So, we are up. Fire up the plane... it's running good.

I always start the plane on my "IMAC" condition. This has a high idle and had all the rates/expo's/boosts for snaps and hammers and such. Because I was gonna have to wait a minute or so before I took off, I kicked it back to landing mode where the idle is lower so my called can hold the plane easier. Ready to go, take off!! 1 trim pass and I think it's pretty close. This is another area I need to work on. I hate doing trim passes as I know the judges are just sitting there getting more and more mad. So I try to trim the best I can in 1 pass across, turn-around and enter. I then usualy have to adjust a few more clicks during the sequence before it's right.

1st maneuver is a reversing loop, entering inverted with 2 1/2 rolls to start and a snap on exit. I have never done a snap other than one in the avalance at the top (rudder aileron only). I talked to Mr. BADAMS before and got some pointers. So I enter inverted and start my 2 1/2 rolls. Right away something doesnt feel right. When I bumped the elevator after the 1st 1/2 roll the nose really shot up. I rolled the 2nd time and was already 45 degrees into the vertical part of the loop. Push over the top and get ready to snap at the bottom. Here comes the bottom... let the plane unload (as Bill said) and now bump the nose with up elevator - WOW, the nose shoots way up again and now the rudder/aileron and HOLY CRAP - it rolls super fast and over rotates by 90 degrees. I add full left aileron to level her back out and nothing happens... flys knife edge for a second or two and then recovers to wings level. WTH was that??? Now I realize something is wrong so I keep flying straight and level. Nex maneuver is a Hammer with a 1/2 roll up (belly hammer) and a 1/2 roll down. I pull a nice vertical, over-rotate my 1/2 roll as it rolled faster than used to. Now to hammer... nothing... FLOP... .... ok, time to land, pack up and go home... that was my thought... but... I stuck it out and kept flying. After the flopped hammer I realized that I was on my landing condition so my D/R and Expo were waty up and I had no rudder or aileron boost I hung in there and flew the rest of the sequence ok. Rolled the wrong way on my 2 of 8 and picked up another zero there.

Landed and was pretty bummed. Briefly thought of heading home and not flying the last round of knowns. I missed my family already as this was my 1st out of town IMAC contest and thought I could get home and see the baby before she went to bed. I calmed down a little and decided to stay. Flew well the 4th round and had a 997 on the last sequence so I almost won it.

Learned a lot this contest.

1)Road trips affect your flying. Sleeping (or lack there of) in strange beds, missing family, tired from the drives, etc.

2) Unknown's can kill you. Take the unknown away and I was 4th overall in precision.

3) My stretch goal of qualifying to go to the WEST Qualifer for Worlds is not going to happen Based on this last contest, I am at best a distant 5th. I plan to go to Camarillo and hoped to go to Colorado to fly with the boys that came down to the AZ event. Depends on funds and the work environment come August, but I hope to make it.

Even if I were to win both of those (highly unlikely based on past performance) I would still be 5th. Looks like Don and Jeanette have 3 or 4 more smaller contests they are registered to fly before the deadline so their #'s will only improve.


It's ok. I didn't get to prepare and practice like I knew I would have had to in order to make it. But, I have had fun and have made tremendous strides this year. I also realized I probably moved up too soon. If the Worlds qualifer was not happening this year, I probably would have stayed in Basic. I really need to move back down, but Rusty said I can't unless he can also It's hard, you watch the Bryant Mack's, Spencer Nordq's, Santiago's and Matt's move from Basic to Unlimited in a year or 2 span and you expect the same. It's just not realistic. I still really can't fly parrallel to the runway with wings level. My inside wing is always low, I pull into maneuvers already in a yaw, any wind or distraction totally puts me behind the aircraft. This takes a lot of time of which I just don't have.

I am not giving it up, but after having my handed to me pretty bad this contest, I really have where I need to go in perspective and it's just not in the cards how I had it planned. I will keep flying, go back and really work on the basics and kind of start over.

There is still Tucson. Because Tucson uses a points based qualifier, I am pretty sure I will qualify to go to that. Actually, now that I think about it - because I did pretty well in some big contests - I think if the Worlds used the TAS qualifying format I would have been 3rd or 4th for sure. Again, based on this contest, I don't expect to do much more than hope to not finish last at TAS - but it will be nice to be there with the big boys and "pretend" I deserve to be there with them

Lots going on between now and Camarillo. Buying a new house and moving in the next month. Have a new plane I have to move gear into and buy servos for, trim out... also switching to Futaba so I have that learning curve also... but, it will be fun regardless of how I do. Hopefully after these last changes (airplane/radio) I will be able to just fly and practice. Maybe give a good run at Sportsman next year and see if I can finish top 3 in the region!!

I am sure I will post installment #17 when I get the new plane/radio Maiden'd!
Posted by mtndewdewd | 04-30-2013 @ 03:58 PM | 5,809 Views
Ok. I think this is turning into a "How Not To" series for IMAC.

So, basically I took a great flying airplane and wrecked it and have taken 3 weeks to get it back to where it was - is that smart?? Hopefully it is, becuase it still needs more trimming and it is flying as good if not a little better than it was before. Hopefully as I continue the "tweaking" over the next few weeks it will be much better than it was before I started messing with it.

At this point, the major change was moving to a new radio (DX18QQ), moving the CG back quite a bit, changing the engine right thrust and re-configuring the control throw (neutral/travel/etc). Seems to fly smoother than before, but still has a little flat turn coupling I need to do to get it perfect. I still think I need to move the CG back some more and re-trim. On a 45 upline it starts to fall off after about 1/2 second, but very gently... but when flying across the box inverted - to maintain level/inverted flight I am having to hold constant down elevator of about 1/2 stick. Seems a bit much.

So, to continue the "how not to" - At this point - all convential wisdom and advice from those doing this for many many years tells you to start BURNING GAS and PRACTICE and learn the plane. So, what do I plan to do... just the opposite Seems everytime I get a plane just where i want it and it's time to really start getting good with it - I sell it. Well, I am not selling this plane, but I did buy a new plane. So, I picked up Wayne Geffon's old Extra 300 126" "Dean built" (FixedWing). Although my current plane is flying well and holding together - it is over 5 years old and was wrung out pretty good by the master Frank Noll. No signs of failure anywhere, but I'd rather take it easy on her as much as I can. She will become my freestyle/backup plane. My freestyle is soo lame it will get stressed less than it does doing a Sportsman Known sequence

I think with this new plane, and getting it setup - I will be ready to roll for some time. Will have 2 super nice planes to make sure I can make it through all the contests with a well flying plane. I am anxious to see what this new plane (39-40lbs w/ da-200) can do.

Oh yeah, and to make sure I really "do the wrong thing" I am planning the jump to Futaba RX/TX combo.

So - to sum this all up... I took 2nd place (very close 2nd place) in the last contest and within 3 months of that I will have a 2 new radios and 1 new plane from what was obviously working well. HOWEVER - What I am hoping - is that by the Strausberg (CO) event the new plane/radio will be trimmed and doing great and by the Tucson Shootout I will be proficient at flying it and flying well above where I was at the Cactus where I placed 2nd. Only time will tell....

Stay Tuned!!
Posted by mtndewdewd | 04-18-2013 @ 04:53 PM | 4,684 Views
Ok. So I removed both shims that were adding left thrust and buttoned her back up. Now the backplate of the prop rubs ever-so-slightly on the cowl - but not bad. I may have to push it our with a shim on both sides just a hair.

Before I flew it, I really wanted to nail the CG. It was fine before, but after I replaced the 60oz dubro with 64oz Fortitudes it felt a little more nose heavy. So, I filled it with gas and checked the CG. Mr Wegs told me Dennis told him that Kurt was flying his 126" at 4"-4 1/8" back measured from the wingtip. Lucky for me, there was already a nice little black mark right at 4". When lifting at this mark, the back came up and the gear stayed on the ground =\ I anticipated this, and already had a plate glued in and extension leads for my batteries to move them back. Moved them about 8" back - and it hardly changed it =\ Finally got them back to the rear of the canopy and it balanced at 4" nicely. I was surprised how far I had to move the batts to get the CG right.

Test flight time. Flew nice. Now on an inverted 45 it stayed right there for about 1 3/4- 2 seconds before it started to fall off. Inverted flight needs just a slight pressure or a very slight "bump" every second or so. Felt like I was much more "hands off" flying it than before. Flew about 12 minutes and I think the CG is right where most say to put it, and it felt good to me.

Next flight its time to check thrust angle. It was pretty windy - 12-15 gusting 20-25. It did settle to wind calm a few times so I was able to check the thrust pretty well. It seemed to fly pretty straight once I got it online vertical. Most times it went straight up and a few times it headed to the right just a little bit. Could be wind, could be a little too much right thrust. Flew about 5 minutes pulling verticals and then flew the sequence once.

Noticed the stall had a better drop and feel to it. It used to just mush into a stall and I had to force it a lot. Doesn't see any more touchy in pitch, but the rudder seems to have a little more authority than before. May dial the Dual Rate down a little for precision setting.

Lined up nice, floated in just like the "cream puff" my coach says she is

So, I think I am going to add 2 shims to the right and 1 shim to the left. I think this will make it perfect for thrust and move the spinner out a little (1/64th). Beyond that, if it has a little bit either way, I can null it out with the radio.

Next step is to get the rest of the mixes dialed in. Hopefully next week I can do that on 1 day and get some practice in the other. We will see. But I am happy with the progress and am confident that it will be trimed out better than before and be able to get some practice in with it in time for the next contest (Prado).
Posted by mtndewdewd | 04-09-2013 @ 12:52 AM | 7,497 Views
I have not flown since the Cactus Classic until Saturday. 1st this I had to do was destroy my almost perfect flying plane

When I started to trim out the Carden at the beginning of the year, I had a couple radio mixes that were added and were causing me some issues.

1) When I started to trim the plane out, when I got to the vertical upline test it was pulling pretty hard to the left. The DA-200 was mounted on a SWB mount with right thrust. I am guessing the previous owner (or the one before him or Frank Noll, well probably not Frank had it setup (CG/Prop?) where the SWB mount had too much right thrust so it had a shim on the right side (from the cockpit) to reduce the right thrust a little. In my setup (CG/Prop/etc) there was not enough right thrust so it was pulling to the left. To fix this, I added a high throttle to right rudder mix. Most times this worked great, but sometimes I would not fly at high throttle on uplines (da-200 has lots o power) and in those cases it would veer to the left.

2) To get the plane to track perfectly straight down, I had to put 6% low throttle to down (push) elevator. What this caused is when killing the throttle from a high throttle/high speed condition the plane would nose down noticeably.

So, on Saturday, I removed the radio mixes for Throttle (high to rudd and low to elev) and test flew. Unfortunately about 4 minutes into the flight the TX battery warning alarm goes off - but it was enough time to verify it needed more right thrust.

So, land, and start the tear-down. Canopy, top cowl, bottom cowl removed - spinner, prop, baffle, etc. There were 2 shims on the right side so I removed 1 thinking that would be enough. While I was in there, I decided to replace the tanks. The tank/lines/etc were still from the original owner (16months old) so were due. I replaced the 60oz Dubro with dual 32oz fortitude tanks. Re-tighten motor bolts/nuts, install new fuel lines to carbs, install new tanks.

Oh yeah, since the above isn't enough of a change (remember - it was flying perfect before I started this) I decide to switch Transmitters. Moving up from a 12X to a DX18QQ. So... after the tanks are installed, it's out to the flight line to test run and setup the throttle end-points / idle. After about 4 or 5 minutes the setup looks good and running great.

Back to the pits, put the baffle back on (after some CA to a crack) then the bottom and top cowl's. Tidy up the fuel lines with some zip-ties.

Now, need to setup the rest of the plane on the new radio. I am running a PowerBox Royal so it should not be too bad. All the balancing functions are done in the PB so a TX change has no effect. Had to move AUX 6 and AUX 7 (2nd Elev and 2nd Rudd) to Aux 4 and Aux 5 since the DX18 is really only 10 channels. Done in 5 seconds with the 18QQ - love it. Now, to setup the control surfaces. I started at 12:30 and it's now 3:30 pm so I am now in a hurry. I wanted to get the work done and put in 2 or 3 test flights. Looks like I will only get one, and I have to hurry to get that one.

I pulled out the digital throw meter and did a quick setup on the Ailerons and Elevators. Left the rudder as it was - which I am not sure of since I didn't look at it at all =/ Set them up to be equal at neutral and at full deflection.

Range check looked good - time to try her out. Fire it up and put the coals to her. Didn't want to lift off and after about 3/4 up stick on the elev it slowly lifted up. Mr. Mike Smith was then utilized to put in about 22 clicks of up elevator (elev trim set at 5) which is a TON. Anyway, about 6 clicks of right aileron and it seemed to be pretty trimmed out. Once I move those initial trim's to physical changes or subtrims, I can set the trim setting back to 1 and have more control over fine tuning the trim.

CG looks a little more nose heavy than before. May not be too bad based on what I have been seeing - seems a little nose heavy is better for precision. Upline seemed to be better, but still pilled to the left slightly. I need to remove that 2nd shim . Up thrust looks ok also, but it did originally until I had to put a big downline/low throttle mix in. Hopefully with a little more nose heavy setup the downline mix will be less Although not ready for that part yet, I tried an 45 line roll and it had some noticeable "walking" going on. "snap" and "hammer" mixes worked great. Throttle curved seemed nice, high/low idle worked (switch activated correctly).

Anyway, landing goes well and time to pack up. Got about 1/2 what I wanted to get done - done Flew ok, on new radio and tanks didn't leak and no dead-stick. Below are some things I need to do still....

1) Low idle still too high (had to kill engine on short final)
2) Need to remove last shim on right side to add more right thrust
3) Need to continue mixing it out...
....... Maybe a little high throttle to right rudder may still be needed - but should be very small if so
....... May need to move the CG back a little
....... Will need to re-setup the throws to be more accurate and dead-on
....... May need some differential mix
....... Will need to do rudder (flat turn) mix
....... Will need to do downline (low throt-Elev) mix

Dual Rates are not right. Ailerons were a little hot, but by the end of the flight I got used to it and might even like it ?? Elevator is too low and needs to be bumped up.

Love the DX18QQ. I can't say why (11ms speed maybe) but the control surfaces seem to be much faster and crisper on the DX18QQ. I know it doesn't make sense, but that was my observation!? Feels good in my hands, gimbals are smooth (need to increase tension) and it looks damn good!

So, I took a perfect flying plane by all accounts and made it fly like crap. However, I know that by 3-6 more flights I will have it dialed in and will be better than before. Look out Prado - I will be ready to throw another 2nd, 3rd, maybe 5th at ya

I'll write another updated after the next mixing session.
Posted by mtndewdewd | 03-25-2013 @ 05:02 PM | 12,694 Views
When I started this blog-thread, it was to just get my thoughts on paper and provide a roadmap of "what to expect" for those newbies that may follow me down the road of starting to fly IMAC. It's interesting to see how many people are actually reading this and bringing it up at the contests asking about "the next PART) Glad I am providing some entertainment. I get a lot of "I remember going through that" type comments

As I meet more and more people, I also realized that some of the things I say on here about judging, being in the wrong class, or whatever could hurt someones feelings. I just want to say up front that nothing is meant by it. If you have got to know me, you know i am a real PUSY and would never do anything intentionally to hurt someones feelings or make them mad - even if it is deserved.

Leading up to the contest I was starting to get more consistent. I think a lot of it is confidence. In the past as I would mess something up or get out of whack, I would get down on myself and it would just get worse and worse. Now when I am a little off I correct and get back at it and try to learn something from it instead of beating myself down and trying to convince myself I suck and will never "get it".

Went to the field on Friday to drop my plane off, and to pick up a new Transmitter. Thanks to Tony R and Randy Wegner for helping make happen. I have loved my JR 12X, but I just love the looks of the new DX18QQ. I also like the ability to do 1/2 % on mixes and being able to move switches/channels wherever I want Now just need to move all the models over to it and sell the 12X. Got the plane together, hung out and talked to the CO guys that make the trek down. Bunch of great guys and I need to try and make it up there for a contest when I can. Got a flight in, and as usual I forgot to start my timer. So after 2 sequences I landed. Did a little more "hanging out" and "chit-chatting". Decided to get 1 more in before I headed home. Fired up the plane, timer running and off I go! On the 9th maneuver of the 2nd sequence, 10 minutes into the flight - up a vertical upline theengine coughs and dies. Brought it back around and landed. Mr T. Thompson asks "did it run out of gas" and immediately I knew I forgot to fill it. Mr. B Adams then gives me a nice hint about pulling the filler line after the flight so you will always know in case you forget. Another lesson learned. Could have been bad, but once again I lucked out.

Pick up Pops (2011 caller of the year) at 5:45 and head to the field. Plane together and ready for the 7:30 pilots meeting by 7:00. pops takes his first of many naps and I head out to hang out a little and see if anyone needed any help. Lots of chit-chatting and come 8:15 we finally have the pilots meeting.

16 Pilots in sportsman - and wouldn't ya know it - I'm 2nd to last and we are going to follow Basic - so I am in for about a 3 hour wait. If I only knew now how they would "adjust" the pilot order I would have been even more bummed. Turns out all they did was move the top 1 or 2 to the bottom so I got to be in the bottom all weekend. Although as I am starting to appreciate (unlke pops) is that it's not soo bad to hang out and shoot the . Beautiful morning for it. low 70's and suny and no wind.... for now

About 10 to 11 pilots in, the wind goes from nothing to about 20 directly into the pilots face. Another great break for me - especially since I know the man to beat was 2nd and already flew in calm conditions. I go up, fly ok, lots of in and out and getting blown around, but I flew well, no zero's and was happy just getting the plane back on the ground without having to have my designated lander (bsmack) take the TX and get her down for me.

Afternoon come around, wind is settling down and we get some lunch (more on that later). Burgers all around for TeamWolcott.

About 2:30 now, and 1/2 way through the 2nd round and the wind is picking up. I got to watch some Unlimited pilots fly and that is always fun. I have never seen Cameron Irwin (sp?) fly and that was fun to watch. I get to see BADAMS, BSMACK, NORDQ fly all the time, KGOOD at TAS and SUKHOIKID once last contest. Amazes me how good these guys fly. Don't know how the judges find errors. Looks like a close one between Cameron and Bryant as they are under 50 pts different. Same as the morning, the 1st half get calm and the 2nd 1/2 gets 15-20 winds.

1st sequence, 1st maneuver I get too slow on the hammer (highest K) and it FLOPS . Stay calm, next maneuver ok, 3rd better, 4th almost perfect - back in the grove... then on my spin as it gets slowed down and nearing stall I get some wind and I don't notice it and it flips the plane on it's back . 2 zero's - throwaway round - hurry through the rest and practice flying in the wind and move on. 2nd sequence I flew as good as I ever have - land safely and get to relax and wait for the UNKN to be handed out. Finished the day in 2nd about 100 pts back.

Just as Unlimited starts firing up they hand out unknowns. By now, the old man is really feeling his burger so we head home. Get home, spend the remaining few hours of the day playing with the "fam". About 8:30 baby in bed and ready to look at the unknown. I went to the SCORE! online scoring training class the monday before the contest. During that they showed one of the Sportsman UNKNOWN's from the previous weeks contest. It has a 360 turn from inverted and a couple people on the call talked about how that "always throws the Sportsman guys for a loop". I have never tried one, so I head home and fire up the SIM. Not good. Needed rudder and lots of other corrections (aileron/elev) through the whole thing and it was ugly. After about 15 minutes I gave up and said I will practice those the week after the contest. Well, wouldn't you know it... our unknown had 2 inverted turns. Back to back 270 degree. Other than those 1st 2 maneuvers (1 and 2 in the sequence) I have flown all other maneuvers at some point. Spend 1/2 hour or so memorizing it, watch some TV with momma and head to bed.

I guess this is more soap-opera than IMAC stuff at this point and I need to start sticking to the flying and not bore everyone with every minute of my life... sorry...

Ok, call the old man at 8:00 pm and he is in bed and says he puked and will be fine in the am. I told him to txt me if not.

Up at 5:30 on sunday to a txt that pops was "OUT". Head to the field. Plane together and wait till 8:00am for the 7:30am pilots meeting again. Same format as yesterday, next to last again and even better, I am FOLLOWING the man J Campbell in 1st place

EMACK is able to call for me as BSMACK is judging Advanced. He did a great job and I flew phenominal. About 1/2 way through my right hand and both knees starting shaking un-controlably. Never happened before but I think it was beacuse I knew I was nailing my unknown and I know what that can do to help your standings. Got through it. Didn't realize it, but on my 2nd to last maneuver I had "to the left" written as my turn dorection on the upline of my hammer. When I flew it, obviously I turned to the right to see the canopy and not the belly. On the downline I had written "to the left" so that worked. Goes to show you only realy listed to a caller when you need to know what is next or you want validation. Freaked my caller out a little but flew it right. Wound up coming in 2nd on the unknown by .02. 750 to 749.8. I call that a tie

Of course JC flew well also so I moved a little closer, but still in 2nd after the unknown and now Mr. JSEVEN is creeping up behind me in 3rd. Gonna come down to the last round!!

BSMACK called for my last round and did a great job trying to keep me "out" and I did a great job of bringing it back "in" where I like it Flew well, but didn't think it would win me both sequences and I would have had to have won them both with JC throwing in a couple low 9xx or high 8xx and I knew that wasn't going to happen. But, I thought I flew well enough to hold onto 2nd.

Results came out, and I did hold on to 2nd. JC in 1st and JSEVEN a close 3rd. Its going to be a fun race if all 3 of us keep flying well!

I continued to see some judging "anomalies" but they are getting better and I am realizing after 7 rounds and 2 judges it really all ends up how it should. I have no real gripes looking at the final order and seeing something "out of whack".

I also continued to see just great, phenominal sportsmanship. From EMACK helping with RFAULKS plane and the Goodwine's tig-welding a header back together in their hobby/machine shop - I mean "trailer" to BADAMS and JSEVEN calling for 3 out of 4 pilots in the event, chasing down planes, you name it. I am amazed how they can fly soo well after attending to everyone elses needs the whole contest. This truly is a great hobby and IMAC is a great way to keep active and enthuastic about it.

Prado is the next event. Bummed I won't get to have the infamous hanger dinner, but a foamy throw-down sounds fun also. My Niece is graduating High School on the Friday before so I won't be able to be there to practice and hang out on Friday like I expected, and it may be an all-night drive to get there and show up and fly (aka SUKHOIKID) - but I will be there and can't wait.

Now, to fix my plane up. Need to do some PM on it and move the raido mixes into physical changes. There is not enough right thrust so I have a hig throttle to right rudder mix and it needs a little more up thrust on the engine as I have a pretty good low throttle to elevator mix and slowing from a high rate of speed in level flight gets a pretty good nose drop. I didn't want to mess with it between contests as it was flying well for BACO. Now that I have 2 months, I can make the changes and re-trim it out and it will be better in the end. I may also bump up the ailerons. I will lose some resolution, but at HIGH RATE my roll rate in snaps is still a little slow on the big 126" Carden.

I will try to do an update end of April to update the trials and tribulations with re-triming the plane and practice results.

DEW out!

P.S. excuse the spelling errors - when I copy this to outlook to spell check it removes all the formatting and excelently placed smilies so live with it
Posted by mtndewdewd | 03-03-2013 @ 09:51 PM | 9,337 Views
Practice day, sort of =\

Was planning on flying both Saturday and Sunday. Didn't work out that way. Was going to Maiden the Extra 260 (Backup Plane) on Saturday and then get some practice on the Carden on Sunday.

Backed the car in the side drive, pulled the trailer out. Hooked it up and went inside for dinner - Friday night. Came out after dinner to tie everything down and get ready to be out of there at 6:30 in the morning. Guess what, Truck won't start After about 4 hrs of troubleshooting, disconnecting batteries, trying all kids of suggestions I found online.. still no go. Worst of all, now I have the trailer pinned in and i can't even get the wife's car in there to take it. Saturday shot. Towed to the dealer, and found out the transciever on the PATS (Ford Passive theft system) went bad and needed to be replaced... but no parts till Monday My dad always told me, and I quote him (in case any women read this I don't believe it at all "if it has t!ts or tires it will give you problems". Sometimes I think he is wiser than I gave him credit for

Now with wife's car and trailer hooked up - head to the field at 6:30. Plane together and last few things tidy'd up. Now 8:30 and ready to take her up.

1st flight is good. Only a few clicks of trim in each axis. Noticed immediately how spoiled i am with the DA-200 on the Carden. Although it has unlimited vertical, it just seems like a turd - but after a few flights I got used to it. Doesn't have enough right thrust and was pulling out on downline. Land fine and add a high throttle to right rudder mix and a low throttle to down elevator mix.

Back up and I quickly realize I added too much. Was now veering as badly to the right as it was to the left before and my downline almost flips itself inverted when I go to Idle. Did a coule KE passes to see what that looks like (I know, out of sequence) and it's not too bad. Fly around a little and go to land. On downwind DEADSTICK Turn in to the runway too soon.. overshoot and roll out into some brush. Only damage was to a 4"x4" piece of covering on the bottom just behind the gear plate. Not bad at all. A little scotch tape and it's ready to go. I adjusted the low idle down 1 click just before I took off on the 2nd flight so I added it back in.

3rd flight, take off fine, upline looks much better, but after a long 45 upline DEADSTICK Hard slip all the way back to the runway and land and go to the end of the runway to retrieve. Start it up again and on full throttle runs at 3-5 seconds the motor sags and dies. Over and over and over. Wheel it back to find air in the line and the clunk had fallen off in the tank. I guess my tank assembly skills suck (I knew that already - shame on me). Anyway, looks like dual 32oz Fortitudes going in this bird also!

So, What was supposed to be a 3-4 trim flight day on Saturday and a 3-4 practice flight with primary plane on sunday turned into more work needed on the backup and ZERO practice on sequence flying

Busy weekend coming up so I may not get to fly at all. Hoping Sunday - but there is a heli event at SVF so I will have to fly at Mustang if I do. Cactus approaching fast and not getting any practice in for it. Need to get it in gear.
Posted by mtndewdewd | 02-18-2013 @ 01:57 PM | 9,949 Views
Contest #2 Out of the way - and boy was it a learning experience!

Let's see, where do I start? How about the day before the contest.....

Friday - I bought an Aeroworks 122" Extra 260 from the famous JB. It was Kyle Goodwine's backup plane. I have yet to get electronics installed and maiden as I bought it to be a back-up plane. So, I spent all day friday replacing the tank plumbing (2 trips to LHS) and installing the IBEC, Power Board, LED's, switches, etc etc. I did this with the hope that I would finish the radio programming and setup at the field during down times and maiden after the event on Sunday (I have a short memory and always forget how bad you want to get through awards and get home after a long 2 days =\ Anyway, I finally get it done, which included re-working my whole trailer setup to hold a 2nd 40%'er with new chocks/tie-downs etc. Needless to say, it was a long tiring day - but I was packed and ready to tear it up with my new-found confidence

Saturday - Pick up my trusted caller (and unofficial contest comic) "POPS". He gets in the truck, takes a sip of the coffee I am under contract to provide him for the road portion of the contests, and then takes his usual position, sleeping, in the co-pilot seat. 1hr 15mins into the trip and 1/2 mile from the florence exit I programatically apply the brake to dis-engage the cruise control. I then apply throttle to keep my speed up until the exit and it's dead. Still showing RPM's, but no throttle response. Kick it into neutral and the RPM's quickly go to 0 and the check engine light comes on as we coast off to the side of the road (200 yds from the exit). Turn it off, back on and it cranks fine but won't start. Assuming dead fuel pump. Continue to try for a few minutes and no luck. Get on the horn to Mr. Baco to see where he is. I know he has a truck and is not towing a trailer as his plane is in my trailer. Quickly 10 people are offering to come get me (love this hobby). He gets some directions (around the closed roads for the bike race of course) and he is on his way. After a couple detours, a 5 miles jaunt to the 1st exit to turn around on, he arrives to take over control of the trailer. We load up and head to the filed. On the way I call a repair facility in Casa Grande - only Diesel one I could find. To continue my luck, his Diesel guy is off today. I asked if there was anyone else in town or near town that could work on it and he told me to hold on. He returns to the line and says his Diesel guy lives "across the tracks" and came over to get some free coffee and would look at it. Luck changing maybe????? So we setup the towing. Get to the field feeling a little better just as the pilots meeting is starting and pull into our spot that was being "reserved" for us (love this bobby).

Because they knew we were going to be late, they moved us to the end and gave us plenty of time to get the plane ready (love this hobby - any other competition that would be loving the fact that we would have missed a round).

Now to the flying..... 1st rd and my heart-rate is starting to come down a little and we are ready to go. Wish the wind would stay under 20mph, but no luck. Very windy - mostly blowing out, but blustery! Flew the sequence, did not fly very well at all - the wind was really blowing me around and putting me in some awful places. It was blowing me way out and to the left. I could barely see the plane on the backside of the left end-box maneuvers. I was just hoping it came back into sight before so I didn't lose it in the field not knowing which attitude is might be in. Landing was fun. Came in over the weeds (am always scared to land in wind at contest afraid of it blowing the plane into the guys starting up at the other end). See my shadow move over the weeds that I thought I long ago cleared - balloon, correct, balloon, correct, do that a few more times and slam it on the ground for a good gear check. All good - except for the heart-attack I gave Baco who watched me almost crash the plane he was supposed to fly Got through it, no zero's and the judges were very nice to me (truck? Wind Factor?). Anyway, my scores were low, but could have been lower and after rd 1 I am in 6th out of 17.

My caller then takes his spot protecting my radio and our 0 gravity chair's (read as NAPPING). About 12 o'clock I call the repair place to check on a status (they called at 9 and were already looking at it). They tell me they only found a leaking high pressure oil pump but were still looking but will be Monday as they close at 1 and are not open on Sunday. Good luck turned bad quick

Rd 2 - a little pre-occupied with the car issues and the guessing at the bill for what I thought was a quick and easy fuel pump replacement now looking worse with 3 hrs of diagnosing and still not sure what is wrong. Take off, now SUPER windy... blowing me all over, but doing better as I moved the whole sequence downwind... flew better, but still rough. Turned the wrong way on a maneuver and got a zero, but then when I landed I found out I flew the wrong #2 maneuver and zeroed it also. Read above for how the landing went, but add in a go-around. Just as I am about to crash it on the 2nd try I realized my high-idle was still on, I brought it down and it settled down nicely on the dirt on the side of the runway. All good for Baco (other than a pilot in the plane with sh!tty drawers Move up 1 spot to 5th after the 2nd round.

So, Day one over, lots of stress and un-planned activities. It shows how much there is to this besides the actual flying. You really need to have your mental game and concentration on or it can go bad quickly! Hoping day 2 is much better!

Sunday - Now in my "backup vehicle" POPS truck on the way to the field. All goes good and it shaping up to be a great day 65, sunny, and no wind. Had a party to go to the night before so I didn't get to look at the unknown too much. Did a little studying and walked my caller through what I needed him to help with and we were ready.

UNKNOWN - Start the plane, and I hear a sound I don't remember hearing before. It's a clicking or a vibration... I reved the engine a few times and didnt see any wobble in the nose cone, etc. So we go up! Up we go, and its looking great - smooth, nice lines, looking good. Go into my 1 1/2 spins and after 1 1/2 it just didn't look right - like maybe I only did 1/2 so I paused and did another rotation which may 2 and 1/2. Even though that is harder, they zeroed me ... they, I forget to flip the snap switch before maneuver 10 and my snap looks more like a barrel roll. It did snap, but the auto-rotation was SSSLLLOOOOOOWWWW. 1 judge gave me a score as it technically was a snap, the other a Zero. All in all, I felt good about my flying. Moved up to 4th after the unknown. Now with no wind, landing is as usual nice and soft on on the runway

Baco's RD#4 - I told Mike about the sound I heard and told him to listen and tell me what he thinks (in retro-should have told him after my flight and not just before his). He starts it up and quickly kills it. They pull the cone and find 5 of the 6 prop bolts sheared . He quickly gets 10 planes offered to him to fly and he takes his callers plane (badams) up (love this hobby). He does well with the new plane and after he lands 10 people jump on my plane trying to fish the bolts out (love this hobby). After about 30 minutes and some dental tools and exacto's the bolts were out, new bolts in and test run looks good.

RD4 - I was ready to pack it in as I knew NO ONE was going to offer me their plane after my landing clinic the previous day. But, everyone jumped in and helped and I now had a plane. So, they yell at me to get up in the air as I am up.. so I do... only to find out as I am up there loitering around that the guy I was following was just in the middle of his 1st routine. So I loiter for a couple minutes on 1 end - Ernie Mack has me come by low to check the sound and clears me to continue flying as it sounds good.. then I loiter at the other end for a few more minutes. So, I am now up and start my sequence. I start my sequence and after the hammer on maneuver #1 I roll 3/4 the wrong way and have to call a break. Turn-around and now to really show they how I have it together I do a 1/2 roll (instead of a 2 of 4) on the reverse 1/2 cuban (2nd zero). Finish the sequence and flew pretty well after that. So just before I finish my turn-around to go into the 2nd sequence my flight timer starts beeping at me. So, you can imagine how the 2nd sequence went? I flew it in about a 40 degree box and got it down fast. Better than 2 zero rounds so I can't complain.

Finish the event in 5th out of 17 and really can't complain based on everything that went on during the weekend. Learned a lot about "contest day" and "mental readiness". Really need to work on my concentration and focus when I am in the air and not let the events of the day/etc throw me off.

Want to thank everyone that helped and showed concern during the event.. can't name them all, but I appreciate it. Really want to thank Baco for all the extra effort to get me off the freeway (not so easy with 85mph rigs trying to blow us into the weeds) and for all the help leading up to and during the contest! Would have had the wife come get me on Saturday morning and would never have showed up without you bud! Also want to thank those that helped get the plane ready for me to fly so I didn't have to take 2 zero's for my last round. Ernie Mack, Randy Wegner, Jason Benson, Bill Adams, Jason Neves, etc. Just goes to show why I LOVE THIS HOBBY. No where else will you find a bunch of better guys always willing to help even if it means they may move down or lose. Just amazing!

Now, have 5 weeks until the Cactus and hopefully can get some good practice in and be really ready to put it all together. Look out Sportsman pilots... I will be bringing it!!

Update on the truck, bad High Pressure Oil pump and when that goes you also get the fun of replacing the regulator, plugs, tubes, etc... 13+hrs of labor, towing, parts, etc etc... looks like a left a DA-200 on the freeway that Saturday morning

Till next time.....
Posted by mtndewdewd | 02-11-2013 @ 12:37 AM | 9,483 Views
Do you see that? Way out there?? It's a little light... at the end of that loooong tunnel... but I see it

Flew today at Florence where the contest is next week. Got some great help, again from Mr. Baco and Mr. Adams (Bill - don't let the "Mr" go to your head)

The whole "radius" thing finally "clicked" between last weeks practice and this week. On 1/2 and 5/8 loops (down) I was tucking early on the top by chopping the throttle and pulling... now I see what that looks like and now when I roll off the throttle off and let it fall on it's own and roll it back in on the bottom it looks like a loop... and on the way up I was inputing an elevator setting and pouring in the throttle and leaving the elevator there all the way up.. well after the 1st qtr by doing that, the 2nd 1/2 qtr is really pinched... now I relax the back pressure on the elevator after the 1st qtr loop and the top 2nd qtr looks like the 1st. Now I just need to start pulling right away after the Snap at the top of the loop as I seem to draw a straight line at the top after the snap now...

Still can't do a hammer Can't get the timing down and I either FLOP or I fly dead left/right after the tail rotates.. the few times I time the hammer right, I seem to be 20 or more degrees off in aileron and usually pulled to the canopy. Need to work on this as this is a big K factor maneuver.

Still can't seem to see when my wings are level. Always have the inside wing low. When I finally get it level, I am expecting to need a bunch of left rudder once I pull the 45... but it seems to be right online. Can't seem to trust it yet... but I am just flying with what I think is a high inward wing and hope someday it will look "level" to me!!??

Also can't seem to get point rolls on point. My 2 of 4 has the 1st 1/4 under and 2nd 1/4 way over. My 1/2 rolls seem ok and my full rolls always seem to be over-rotated

Sounds bad, but... I am on the right track to fix the Radius' and that is 1 thing I was not doing up until now so I am calling it progress

Also, I seem to fly worse the more I fly. When I go out, my 1st flight is the best and they get progressively worse as the day goes on!? I seem to lose concentration with each additional flight and I can't seem to get it back on track once I loose my focus... I forget maneuvers, I fly extra stuff, I get mad and I just start practicing bad stuff... but I am excited for the contest and I guarantee my scores will improve over the last event and that is all you can hope for
Posted by mtndewdewd | 02-02-2013 @ 10:52 PM | 9,587 Views
1st flight after Judging school. Not sure what to think. On 1 hand I wish I hadn't gone and just went on thinking I was a stud... but I know in the end, it's better knowing what I am being judged against. However, being the perfectionist I am, it was much more frustrating knowing just how bad I was flying. I will have to figure out how to not think about all the errors and just fly - but it's gonna take some work.

I also found out after watching Baco stir the sticks today that there isn't a damn thing wrong with my plane or my setup I was hoping there was something wrong that would explain why I can't seem to get it to fly hands off. Maybe the idea I have that you should be able to fly a sequence mostly hands off is the problem?

On that note - thank you Mr. Bacosa. I would call and chit chat with you about how to attack all the areas I need to work on, but I am sure you have larangitis and are swirling salt water after all the talking you had to do today. I am sure I am going to hear in my sleep tonight "inside wing low, left rudder, right rudder, you're coming it, you're going out, over-rotated, under-rotated, you pinched it, roll out the throttle, roll in the throttle" - Did I miss anything?

In all seriousness - I really really appreciate all the help. Once I have the time to think about all you said, I am sure it will set in and I will make a huge stride based on your help today. Just made me realize how far behind the plane I am and how much I need to work on the simple things - LINES and RADIUS'. It was all worth it hearing you hoot and holla when I nailed the Avalanche

Hope to get 4 flights in next Sunday and then we will see how we do in Florence.
Posted by mtndewdewd | 01-28-2013 @ 12:22 PM | 7,974 Views
I have read the judging criteria a couple of times, been through the online school a few times and have even judged a few times. After going to the class, I am not sure it will make me a better pilot, but it will make me a better judge. I feel sorry for anyone I judge from this point on =\ Based on "the rules" I see a lot of 2's and 3's that I used to give 7's. You take a simple loop that was entered from slightly nose up with wings slightly left and have a couple tiny flat spots with a tighter pull-out than entry - but "overall" it looks pretty good... by the rules you don't get the "7.5 - looks pretty good" score but the real score of a "5"

I can see keeping up with a Basic sequence and maybe a sportsman sequence trying to judge at this level - but how anyone can really say they judged a maneuver correctly for an upper class sequence is beyond me. I watched a few sequences from HPP when I got home and I had to rewind multiple times to really "evaluate" each judging criteria for a maneuver. To really evaluate entry/exit radius, consistency of radius, entry and exit path, wings level, rotational elements on point or over/under rotated - nose break, autorotation, etc... you would have to be "Rainman" to be able to do that correctly on-the-fly.

I was hoping it would help my flying, but the tiny "little" things you are graded on have no chance to be thought about before, during, or after I fly the maneuver live. At this point, I am just ahead of the plane enough to think "smooth", "wings-level pulls", good vertical/45 line, centering, etc... no way I am ready to think of all the judging criteria as I fly I guess this is why burning gas is soo important and flying with someone (knowledgable) looking over your shoulder calling out the "little" things really helps.

Again, it was a great event, will help make me a better judge (sorry SW pilots) and will def help with understanding why my scores may be "lower" than expected...

Didn't get to fly this weekend, was going to on Sunday after the "practical" portion of the school, but because of the poorly timed winter rain we received it was canceled. Hope to get some good practice in this and next weekend prior to the next event.
Posted by mtndewdewd | 01-20-2013 @ 11:31 PM | 6,709 Views
Ok. Contest #1 done. I probably should not write this now, but I want to get it done before I lose some of the details.

#1 - Performance. I would say I flew at 75% of my best and based on my judging of other competitors, I flew the 5th best.

#2 - Fun. I now remember why I only flew 1 contest last year and 2 total. 12 hours per day, for 2 days (24 hr's total). Of that 24 hours, less than 30 minutes was spent flying. But, I expect, as usual, in 2 or 3 days I will be crunching my scores and working on a plan for practice to address my poor maneuvers and planning for the next one

#3 - Value. Had fun overall and brought home all my gear in as good of shape as it was when I arrived.

#4 - Judging. I want to include this for each contest as I see it as a major component of the overall experience. In general, I am ok in just knowing where I finished regardless of the actual scores and pieces of wood. I also know that my "feeling" of where I placed in comparison to others is super subjective. As an example, I may think someone else flies too steep 45's, or not vertical verticals or is coming out, etc... but they may consistently get 9's and I am consistently getting 7's. Might say that what I think is right is wrong so I may think I was best when I was really worst because I don't truly know what is correct. I am attending the National Judging school next week and I hope that will help make sure my "idea" of how I flew compared to others is accurate. At that point I can make a judgement call as to how I performed compared to the other pilots. With that said, I can explain my perception of the judging at this event as it pertained to my class. I flew a very good 1st rd (2 sequences) but finished in the bottom 1/2 when the scores came out. I watched every pilot before and after me and I was predicting that I would be 3rd or 4th and was actually 9th. My 2nd round very very bad. In that round I placed myself at about 8th to 10th and my scores had me in 4th or 5th. When the actual scores are posted on the IMAC site I can better determine exactly how the scores played out. So after day 1 I was in 8th place and thought I should have been in 6th. Today we flew an Unknown (1 seq) and a Known (1 seq) and I flew them both very well. I had my Unknown at about 4th and I think that is exactly where my scores put me and my known I had me in 3rd and I was closer to 5th with the actual scores. So at the end of the day, I thought I should have been in 5th and was actually in 6th. Not too far off, but was frustrating the 1st day. When I mention my scores I am talking about RAW and not equalized. I am fearful that all the judging school will do is make me a better judge and in turn make my dissatisfaction with judging greater. But I guess the idea is that over time the more people that know more about judging the better and more accurate the judging will be. I am also hopeful that the school will shed some light on a few elements I must be confused on. As an example, all 5 laydown humpty's I did were very very good in my opinion. I flew them exactly how I expected to, with almost no corrections needed. I made what I thought were constant radius, centered rolls, perfect 45's and all 5 were scored between 5.5 and 6.5... that tells me that something I was doing is wrong because they are so consistent.

Anyway, sorry about that huge run-on paragraph, but I wanted to keep all that in the "judging" section.

I am also contemplating moving to Intermediate It seemed as those there were 4 intermediate pilots in my class at this event - and if I am going to fly against them, I should at least be in that class Actually, I may have done better. In some events there are only 3 or 4 intermediate pilots. So, last in intermediate may be a better finish that in the top 1/4 of sportsman

With the worlds qualification this year, I was expecting to see some people that normally would have moved up to stay put and go fly at worlds. As I stated above, as long as I am "ok" with which pilots in my class are really "sportsman" pilots and how my flying compared to them - I will have fun this season.

Another dilemma is that with judging school both days this coming weekend, there will be no time to practice before the Florence event

More to come - thanks to all of those who have helped so far and for all the tips I got this weekend. It was also nice to put more faces to the names I have been seeing on here. Also, I hope no one takes any of my comments the wrong way. I don't want the judges that judged me to think I think they did a bad job and I don't want the top Sportsman pilots to think I don't think they deserve the places they finished. I'm just on here putting my thoughts out there and hoping to have some fun, make friends, and not offend anyone.

If I can get some mid-week practice in I will update this blog, if not I will update with my thoughts on the judging school.
Posted by mtndewdewd | 01-13-2013 @ 11:41 PM | 7,990 Views
Last practice flights today before the 1st contest of 2013. Had a couple Advanced pilots looking over my shoulder today and I think I made some great strides. I pretty much nailed down the reason why I am having to "fly" soo much. My inside wing was low the entire flight. As you all know, pulling or pushing without wings level starts everything off on the wrong foot. Now you transfer that wing error into yaw correction and now you are correcting yaw and you miss the vertical or 45 and now you are trying to correct for yaw and angle (elevator)...

needless to say, the maneuvers where I entered with my wings level went much better

Wish I had a few more flights to really fix my perception of what "wings level" looks like, but I am on the right track. Thanks Dean and Bill for the help.

If you look at my "part 4" blog, I posted a link to a video from the cockpit looking forward. The video looking down the right wing is rendering and will be up there also. You can see the wing problem in those. Did not get video today, just flew.

Also, still did not get any "unknown" sequences in. I have no idea how bad that is going to be? I have a book full of Sportsman unknowns and wanted to try and practice a few unknowns before my first contest - but I guess I will just have to wait and see how it goes.
Posted by mtndewdewd | 01-08-2013 @ 11:49 PM | 7,859 Views
Flew on Sunday. Was pretty windy - 15-20. The wind really messed up my avalanche, but after a few minutes I was handling the lines ok.

Still feel as though I am over controlling. I watch others fly and they seem to be much more "hands off" than I am. I tend to be flying the plane 100%of the time. I'm constantly making corrections. Others fly my plane and say its trimmed well and they can fly maneuvers "hands off". I have a TX tray now and it is helping.

Def need to burn gas. By the end of my 2nd flight I am flying 10 times better than the beginning of my 1st flight. 1 weekend left before the 1st contest. I still have not tried to fly an unknown yet for practice. This weekend for sure.

I also recorded some video, but 1 of the memory cards crapped out and 1 wing didn't record
Posted by mtndewdewd | 12-31-2012 @ 11:12 PM | 8,995 Views
Flew today at a new field. My current field may ban IMAC flying

Was kinda windy (gusty). Got 3 flights in. Got a TX Tray for Christmas so this was my first flights with it. Not sure yet if it made a difference in my flying, but it seemed to make changing rates a little easier.

Still having issues with the 1st Maneuver - Hammer. I am assuming my vertical is more than vertical because after my 1/4 roll I am always in a pretty good YAW to the right and it takes a lot of left rudder (noticeable) to get it back online - and then my hammer is rushed. Also, I think I need to put a throttle curve in as the da-200 is too much. By the time I pull a vertical, 1/4 roll and kill the throttle - I am about 1500' up and it's hard to judge vertial rate and I tend to either wing-over or back-flip

Also, seems on the cross-box humpty, I have to make the radius' tight or the ground gets close fast =\ Maybe I need to make the Immelman before really big?

1st contest, and it's a big one, is 3 weeks away and I feel like I have a looooong way to go. I haven't even tired to fly an UNKNOWN yet
Posted by mtndewdewd | 12-31-2012 @ 11:02 PM | 8,262 Views

Flew last weekend at SVF. Only got 2 flights in as I had some holiday preping to finish up. Seem to be getting a better feel for the plane. My point rolls were coming out closer to "on-point". Still having issues switching rates. On my Hammer, after the 1/4 roll I am soo distracted trying to find and flip the Rudder HIGH-RATE switch that the plane gets out of whack. I also seem to flip the Rudder HIGH-RATE switch before my Avalance more than I do the Aileron. I am hoping it is just practice to make the rate switches 2nd nature.

Had my 1st dead-stick. I was told it's almost impossible to dead-stick a 4 cylinder... it happened after my hammer... noticed it in time and brought it around... a little fast and long - but at SVF that is no problem luckily. Restarted and flew another 9 mins without issue ???

Hope to fly on New Years eve and get 4-6 flights in. With work starting back up, it will be limited flying before the 1st contest in 2 1/2 weeks!! =\
Posted by mtndewdewd | 12-14-2012 @ 04:17 PM | 11,619 Views
Well, here goes. A blog. What have I come to? Not that I ever had a "man card" - but if by some chance I did, it will surely be gone after this. What's next for me? Twatter? I sure hope not

A little history first I guess. I started flying RC in 1999 in the middle of learning how to fly Full Scale. While getting my Private Pilot's license, this gave me a way to "mess" with aviation in between training flights. I started with a .40 Hobbico Glow plane. Flew it once in the desert and then a 2nd time in a community park at which time it went over the wall and was destroyed That was my 1st "learning" when it came to R/C. Join a club and fly where there is room!

After that, I went 3 or 4 years flying full scale and no R/C. I tried a small electric when they 1st came out and never really got it in the air. Bought a Stik and equipped it with the equipment from the original Hobbico - Yes, including the battery - do I have to say "2nd Lesson Learned"? Charged it up, took off and 30 seconds in it locked up and crashed. Didn't know then, but do now, that the battery was shot.

Fast forward to 2008 and I bought a Turbine. Yes, this is why there is a Waiver process. To keep idiots like me from killing themselves and others. I learned a lot about setup, radio setup, how to start/stop the turbine - etc. But, I was smart enough to never try to fly it. I sold the plane, but kept the DX7. I bought a nice Stik .60 and made 10-15 flights on it at SVF. During these 10-15 flights was when I saw someone with a GIANT plane and thought how cool it looked. I didn't know at the time, but it was someone practicing for an IMAC event.

Fast forward to after my wedding (hint hint) and now Feb 2009. I found and bought a Wild Hare Extra with a Brison 4.something. After 4 or 5 flights with an instructor at our field (and 4 or 5 dead-sticks) The plane was sold and I bought a TOC with a 3W 110. 1 flight with the instructor to trim it out, and it never flew again. Scared to crash that much $$ I sold it. In the summer of 2009 I picked up a WildHare Extra with a DA-85. It ran rough in the mid-range and had a tendency to dead-stick on final/flare. After lots of help from guys at the field, it was sent to DA - and they found junk in the carb that had to be steamed out. Never flew again and it was sold.

Seeing a theme here? Anyway, 10 years in R/C, 10+ planes and under 50 flights. Fast forward to May of 2010. Found a deal on a 42% Aeroworks Edge w/ 3W-170. Bought it and got it trimmed out by another pilot and flew it 10 times or so. I was officially training for an IMAC event - not sure when, but I knew I wanted to do it. On the 11th flight, dead-stick.. landed and adjusted the carbs. Next flight, dead-stick, thought to be running lean, adjusted the carb. 3rd flight, dead-stick just after lift-off, could not get it back around - total airframe loss. Sent motor to AI - sucked in the gasket and was told - no problem, that's normal for these . Sold everything, and in August, found a deal on a Carden 40% edge w/ DA-150. NOW I was an IMAC Pilot. Carden Airframe, DA engine. Look out now! On August 23rd of 2011 my Daughter was born Even with a newborn, I was able to practice enough to make it to the Florence IMAC event in November of 2011. Finished in 5th place in BASIC and got my first WOOD!

Now I was HOOKED! I practiced over the winter (10-15 flights) and was ready to go for the 2012 season. I missed the first few events due to baby life, but was able to make it to the Cactus Classic in Spring of 2012. Finished in 4th in BASIC. Was signed up for, and was unable to make 4 more contests in 2012. Bought a CARF 3.3 Yak hoping the size and slowness would HELP my flying - it did the opposite. Sold the Edge and bought a Carden Extra 300 126" w/ DA-200. Have about 25-30 flights on it as of now.

So - we are here - current day. WHEW... what a trip. Hard to write all of that actually. Not sure if what I went through was a normal progression or if I am one of the lucky few to take the very HARD road to "proficient R/C Pilot". I can get up and down and fly safe. I know the systems, trimming, good habits, etc.

As far as my GOALS for 2013 - they are pretty simple. Have fun, and bring my plane home in 1-piece after each contest.

As far as my WISHES for 2013, asI am sure everyone else is, I would love to take at least 2 Contests, take the IRPS title, Qualify for the Worlds Fly-off in August and Qualify for and fly in the Tucson Shootout.

Now, given my history, is any of that possible? Probably not, but as I sit here now, that is what I am planning for. I have Spousal and Financial backing to put the time in and make the events - now it is just a matter of following through with the plans. I hope the rest of this BLOG follows a "successful" path and does not repeat the "troublesome" path that I have taken up to this point.

Wish me luck, and check back often.